Suit You, Sir

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John Barrymore as Beau Brummell and Independent TD Mick Wallace

Further to calls for a new dress code in the Dáil…

Martin McMahon writes:

Complaints have been made about male politicians who dress ‘inappropriately’ we are told. Like Batmen responding to a light in the sky, the Dail Committee on Procedures leaps to action discussing whether to penalise said offenders.

Instead of examining the prejudices and small minded biases behind such ‘holier than thou’ morally obtuse complaints, time and money is squandered pointlessly considering what action to take. 

Coincidentally, the origin of the Suit was deeply entrenched in pointlessly squandering time and money on meaningless peacockery. George Bryan “Beau” Brummell is credited with introducing the modern men’s suit, worn with a tie. 

Son of a middle class, middle ranking politician, Brummell was an unashamed social climber. During his time as a cornet (the lowest rank of commissioned officer) in the Tenth Royal Hussars, his dandy attire led to him being befriended by the future King George IV who introduced Brummell to high society.

Brummell spent extravagantly money he did not have in his attempt assimilate into gentlemanly society.  It wasn’t long before Brummell’s charade fell apart and owing thousands, he was forced to flee to France to avoid debtors prison.

He lived the remainder of his life in French exile, almost 25 years, where he eventually died penniless and insane from syphilis.

As the Dail Committee considers penalties for non suit wearing politicians, one can only laugh at their notion that a suit represents respectability.

A suit was, is and always will be, the attire of cheaters, charlatans and the morally corrupt.

Only difference is that now they enjoy massive pensions instead of syphilis in their retirement.

Martin blogs at RamshornRepublic

(Photo: Sam Boal/Rolling News/Archive via TessaGratton)

59 thoughts on “Suit You, Sir

  1. Well, that's tat

    How about Mick Wallace and whatshername just shower and appear at the Dail presentable. They are in the same league as those you show up to court in tracksuits. You can bladder on about cheater and syphilis all you like. Tom Ford said, dressing well is a form of good manners, and in modern society that’s true.

    1. ahjayzis

      Tom Ford makes money from selling fancy clothes.

      If you’re horrified to the core of your being by what people are wearing – don’t vote for them. Or run against them maybe? You could found a party.

  2. Shayna

    If I’m not mistaken Stewart Granger portayed Beau Brummel also. “He died penniless and insane from syphilis” in France. Great piece.

  3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    I wonder if John Barrymore tucked his junk into his bum like that guy in Seven.
    Anybody else wondering that, eh?

  4. Spaghetti Hoop

    ‘Like Batmen responding to a light in the sky,’ – great piece of writing.
    I like men in suits – polished shoes, cufflinks and the whole shebang.

    1. Janet, I ate my avatar

      I am partial to a snappy pair of braces, red socks with a sober suit with the option of a daring lining and decent cufflinks

  5. Scundered

    I support the idea of wearing whatever you want, the common suit is like an uncreative mind, the equivalent of just giving in when you can’t think of what to wear, (so I will just dress the same as everyone else). Plus they remind me of John Major and that is never a good thing.

    Judge a man by his actions, not his attire.

    I wrote this in cycling shorts.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Everything you said, which I agree with, has been deleted from my brain due to your cycling short wearage.
      So now so.

  6. Topsy

    Jailed bankers wore very expensive suits.
    Most bankrupt developers wore suits.
    Ray Burke, Pee Flynn Charlie Haughey and many more pillars of political establishment wouldn’t be seen without a suit.
    Hospital Consultants wear very expensive suits, (their solution to all health service issues is invariably more money for themselves), but will not work at weekends.
    The judiciary all wear suits and gowns to impress upon the rest their special status in society. ( a constitutional referendum was required to make them share any of the burden of the financial crisis, while they tossed citizens on the streets.
    Everybody in the central bank and the regulators office wore suits while they slept on the job.(the suits weren’t creased however)
    The legal professionals and aforementioned consultants, resplendent in their suits were two professions which were not affected by the World Banks assertions about competition.
    Enough said about suits.

    1. Kieran Nice Young Chap

      You’re absolutely right.

      By your argument, if none of those people had worn suits, nothing bad would have ever happened.

      Google ‘correlation v causation’

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        Kieran, you left your sense of humour in bed again ;p

        Gwan home and grab it.

  7. Shayna

    It’s a tad like the first season of “Mad Men” – ‘The suit doth not maketh the man’.

    1. Zena

      +1 Shayna

      Great to see Mick Wallace’s dedication and solid work ethic being acknowleged and appreciated, finally. The suited and booted of the Dail could learn alot from him- he’s a grafter not a shafter.

  8. postmanpat

    If everyone started showing up to the Dail dressing like Wallace . Wallace would start dressing in a suit. He is a contrarian.

  9. Shayna

    I think that’s his general point. I won’t bore, or go on about being an Autocue operater – I was phoned by the production company that booked me en route to Buckingham Palace to prompt Prince Philip – “What are you wearing?”.

        1. Shayna

          Black jeans and a black production polo – as is the norm – I had to change into a suit to earn my buck at Buck House.

  10. Holden MaGroin

    I would usually be of the opinion that they way someone dresses belies the way they intend to behave.
    The general consensus in the comments so far is “well people in suits have caused all sorts of trouble, they represent the man”. Which is not untrue.

    So now i’m confused an don’t know what to do. I like suits. Wearing a nice suit makes you feel great. Maybe what Mick wears makes him feel great. As long as he doesn’t wear shorts and flip flops i.e. take the unholy piss I don’t mind.
    It is the Dail after all, a place where we should be debating the essential work of improving our country for everyone. Make an effort.

  11. Holden MaGroin

    Oh and I like the historical aspect of that piece. Sibling of Daedalus would be proud.

  12. Shayna

    @ Bertie Blenkinsop – the sofa has admittedly seen her fair share of action. Her origin is decidedly Irish – the occasional stain would perhaps put one in mind of something that reminds you of Ireland – Yikes, etc!

  13. Shayna

    I’m not really a “Tassely Type” – I’ve got the jauntily thrown throws thing going on, it may indeed involve the odd tassle?

  14. Peter Dempsey

    Definitive proof that there is an infantile anti-suit agends on this site. SJWs like Scottser and Moynes will deny it.

    1. Biddy

      ah Peter, the agenda is a pro-suit agenda being forced on individuals by a Dail Committee, but there you go getting it the wrong way around.

  15. Kieran Nice Young Chap

    As I said before – fine bit of PR by Mick and the gang. Free publicity and furthering of the ‘us v them’ mentality they need to get elected.

    Ye swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

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